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Gay Iconography: Whitney Houston's Legendary Hits


I could fill an entire post merely listing out all of Whitney Houston’s accomplishments: the nearly 200 million records sold worldwide, the number one hits, the Grammy Awards. But that’s not nearly all of Whitney’s story. She was unquestionably a superstar, a woman who broke records and boundaries, riveted tabloid writers and left one of the most memorable, powerful voices etched into history.

Like some of the other large looming gay icons, (Liza, Judy, Marilyn), part of Houston’s enduring legacy is her struggles. The R&B legend battled with addiction, which eventually led to her demise. If her triumphs and trials weren’t enough to endear her to legions of gay fans, her pop earworms and tremendous ballads certainly captivated attention. It’s a career architected in large part by bisexual music mogul Clive Davis. (Before her explosive 1985 debut, she also sang on an album for gay artist Paul Jabara.)

Those aren’t her only connections to the LGBT community. Houston was plagued with rumors she was a lesbian, which she vehemently denied to Out Magazine in 2000. She explained, “If I was gay, I would be proud to tell you, ‘cause I ain’t that kind of girl to say, ‘Naw, that ain’t me.’ The thing that hurt me the most was that they tried to pin something on me that I was not. My mother raised me to never, ever be ashamed of what I am. But I’m not a lesbian, darling. I’m not.”

While her career deteriorated as her addiction worsened, the songs she’s left behind continue to loom large over audiences, gay, straight and otherwise. Get down with some of our favorite Houston hits, AFTER THE JUMP

Though she already had one number one single under her belt (“Saving All My Love For You”) it was her next number one, “How Will I Know,” and third single from her debut album, that would really make her a U.S. phenomenon. At a time when MTV still struggled to showcase artists of color, Whitney broke out into heavy rotation on the network. The catchy tune persists, receiving an excellent mash-up with Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” in 2012.


The impact of Whitney’s bombastic balladry inspired singers for decades. Everyone from Mariah Carey to Celine Dion, Beyoncé to Jennifer Hudson name her as an influence. It’s difficult to turn on any season of a singing competition and not hear a contestant try to imitate the signature style of one of R&B’s most distinctively powerful voices. A particularly popular choice of song is “The Greatest Love of All,” a song that on its surface is so schmaltzy, but in Houston’s hands, it had the power to knock over cities.


Whitney’s second album, Whitney, was another strong showing, full of what would become pop classics. There was “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go,” and, of course, the bubblegum pop of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Those tracks, along with “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” would make Houston the first woman to score four number-one singles from a single album.


Of course, no discussion of Whitney could overlook “I Will Always Love You.” The Dolly Parton-penned tune was a massive hit for Houston, acting as the lead single to the soundtrack of The Bodyguard, in which she starred opposite Kevin Costner. The 1992 track sold 20 million copies, and remains the best-selling single by a female solo artist.


Before addiction, exhaustion and the toll of fame wore on Houston, she dropped her critically-acclaimed album My Love Is Your Love in 1998. Though the years leading up to her untimely death saw her voice lose its power and clarity, and her personal troubles often eclipsed her musical output, one of the album’s dance hits “It’s Not Right But It’s OK” can still be heard in clubs today.

Do you still love Whitney?

Posted Jun. 6,2015 at 5:21 PM EST by in Gay Iconography, Whitney Houston | Permalink | Comments (19)

Man Creates Teachable Moment After Mocking Caitlyn Jenner's 'Bravery' With Soldier Photo


The outpouring of support Caitlyn Jenner received following her Vanity Fair reveal earlier this week was sadly met with the consternation of many who thought the country was going overboard with all the praise and "hero" labels directed at the former Olympian. 

One of those Jenner critics, Salem, Oregon resident Terry Coffey, vented his frustration by posting the below on Facebook on Monday:


As I see post after post about Bruce Jenner's transition to a woman, and I hear words like, bravery, heroism, and...

Posted by Terry Coffey on Monday, June 1, 2015

HuffPost reports the ironic turn of events that followed:

Coffey's post quickly picked up steam and has been shared nearly 800,000 times. Hoping to offer the photographer credit on his popular post, he went in search of the shutterbug's name and made a discovery that shook his concept of courage.

The men in the photo are actually toy figurines staged by Mark Hogancamp, who was beaten nearly to death in 2000... for dressing as a woman.

Coffey detailed his realization in a second, humbling post on Tuesday.


The photo that accompanied my words yesterday to highlight "true bravery," was chosen from a quick image search. Just...

Posted by Terry Coffey on Tuesday, June 2, 2015
HuffPost adds the "upcoming" documentary mentioned was actually released a few years back. Check out a trailer for the film, MArwencol, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Jun. 6,2015 at 4:00 PM EST by in Caitlyn Jenner, Military, Transgender | Permalink | Comments (34)

Nebraska's Anti-gay Gov. Pete Ricketts to Attend Gay Sister's Wedding

Add Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts to the list of Republicans who are icked out by the idea of gay marriage but don't mind attending one (hey, who can say no to free cake am I right?)

RickettsThe Omaha World-Herald reports:

Gov. Pete Ricketts is fitting in a family wedding in Chicago today before leaving on a trade mission.

Ricketts will attend the wedding of his sister, Laura Ricketts. She is marrying Brooke Skinner, a brand strategist for Twitter.

Laura Ricketts was one of the leaders in the gay-rights movement in Chicago and was active in pushing for the legalization of gay marriage in Illinois, which took effect last year.

Ricketts opposes gay rights, saying in 2013 “My sister is gay. I love her, but I disagree with her on this issue." He's also the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and gets upset when the team sponsor's pride parades in Chicago. 

Posted Jun. 6,2015 at 3:00 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Gay Wedding, Nebraska, News | Permalink | Comments (29)

Dozens of Neo Nazis Attack Police, Disrupt Ukraine's Second Gay Pride Rally in Kiev: VIDEO


A gay pride rally in Kiev, Ukraine turned violent Saturday when several dozen neo-Nazi assailants attacked attendees and police.

Reuters reports:

Organizers for 'KyivPride2015' said the march along the Dnipro river would go ahead despite warnings from city mayor Vitaly Klitschko, who advised the event be canceled because of a threat of violence from far-right groups.

Despite the presence of several hundred police in riot gear, the march of around 150 LGBT supporters carrying rainbow banners and placards came under attack and 25-30 "hooligans" were arrested, parliament member Serhiy Leshchenko said on Twitter.

Leshchenko said police had prevented any direct clashes between participants in the march and the attackers.

This was Ukraine's second gay pride parade. The first took place back in 2013. Last year's was canceled over safety concerns. 

Watch footage from the rally, AFTER THE JUMP...





Posted Jun. 6,2015 at 2:00 PM EST by in Gay Pride, Ukraine | Permalink | Comments (11)

Changes are Coming to Towleroad!


Here is our new logo. Hope you love it!

We're (finally) launching our full site redesign this week, and couldn't be more thrilled. The only reason this site is still around 12 years later is your support...and we need it even more now as it gets harder and harder to maintain an independent site online.

Let us know who you are and what you like about Towleroad below in the comments (and yes, improved moderation of comments is a big leap forward with the new design and platform).

Your support is the only way we're able to keep publishing. If you haven't already, please 'Like' our page on Facebook to keep up with our content and our changes.

Thanks for continuing with us on this journey!

Andy Towle, Michael Goff, and the Towleroad staff

Posted Jun. 6,2015 at 1:42 PM EST by in towleroad | Permalink | Comments (159)

Titus Heads to Litchfield Prison in Mash Up of 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' and 'Orange is the New Black' - WATCH


Everyone's favorite gay roommate/star on the rise Titus Andromedon gets into a bit of a career setback when he inexplicably finds himself at Orange is the New Black's Litchfield Penitentiary.

See how the "Pinot Noir" singer handles the change in scenery, AFTER THE JUMP...




Posted Jun. 6,2015 at 1:00 PM EST by in Netflix, Orange is the New Black | Permalink | Comments (1)


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